Published: July 4th 2012July 3rd 2012
Today is my final day in Rwanda, so what have I learnt about the place?
Travel-wise, the North - Musanze and the Parc National des Volcans are well geraed towards the independent traveller, it is easy to get to by bus and easy to get around, although it is expensive by African standards, Kigali is alos an easy place to get around although it can be confusing as it lacks street signs and the roads wind back and forth around the hills. There is a big push on to improve the roading and singposting in Kigali. The south of the country is much harder to travel independently although with time and patience it can be done, expect to pay the same price (5200 Rwf) for a bus from Gisakura to Butare as you would from Gisakura to Kigali which is at least twice the distance. If you want to get off the beaten track to do some of the trails in the Nyungwe forest etc it might be best to do it with a tour company.
People-wise, the young people in Rwanda are open and friendly, the older ones less so and you wonder if they witnessed the rape, mutilation & murder of loved ones, OR, more likley that they were active particpants in the orgy of violence. Given the weapons used, mainly clubs and machetes with a few rifles and grenades added to the mix and the fact that over the course of 100 days over 1,000,000 people were slaughtered and you begin to understand that a large majority of those now over 35 must have been active participants in the killing.
That said, Rwanda has come a huge ditance in the 18 years since the genocide. There is still a long way to go but there is a definite will and a belief that they will become one of africa's leading lights and I thinkm they'll get there. One of the biggest issues Rwanda currently faces is the continuing conflict in the DRC much of it perpetrated by the same people that instigated the killings in 1994. Rwanda needs to be part of any solution in the DRC but i hope they don't get dragged back into conflict themselves.